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The Centurion - 15. Chapter 15

Chapter Two:

Anima

My Legatio I give my years to thee For the preciousness of your love For the touch of your skin To bond with you and make myself yours.

My Centurion. I accept my living after you are gone.

My one and only bond I hand to you May you protect me from all harm

May our love sustain me past the years after you depart

A Centurion love poem to a Legatio

Using Horn’s spear as a cane Philip hobbled toward the luggage train until he was halfway back to the carriage. By that time the Centurion gift of fast healing allowed him to walk without it. When he finally reached the carriage, the only light was from Jonathan’s campfire. Not wanting to scare Jason wearing obvious signs of injury. Philip took off the dressings. Jonathan, seeing the blue crystal in Philip hand, hurried through his bags and came back with two silver goblets... a lover’s pair.

“Why are you taking those out?” Philip demanded. He knew well that those so happened to be the ones Agamemnon had used when Jason had been conceived.

“The legend, sir,” Jonathan replied.

“You think that I am the Centurion who will reunite Domus?” Philip laughed.

“No... but I believe with all my heart that Jason will be the other half of that legend...

“There shall be born a man who is not a man,

“But Man should love him just the same.”

“Don’t you see? Jason was a man who was raised not to be one... he was forced to remain a child.”

“Yes... yes I agree with that,” the commander nodded.

Jonathan then went to the next lines of the legend...

“A prince shall come to save him and in his arms suckle him into manhood.”

Is that not what you are about to do... give Jason Horn’s anima, knowing full well what it will do to him.

“Yes... I have no choice. I can’t stand seeing him so thin and frail.”

“And you love him... I heard you say the words.”

“You snoop! You are trying to arrange the prophecy. Have you no faith?” Philip asked, angrily. He knew the Centurion Prophecy...

A man who is no man will be born

Rescued by a prince who will suckle him into manhood

Together they will battle their own souls

Trying to deny what fate has said must be Till love’s spiritual kiss they share...

That was the first page of the prophecy, and the only pleasant part of it, the rest of five hundred pages were filled with how Domus would fall and the world comes to an end... Still every Centurion secretly dreamed that they would be the one to fulfill the prophecy, for the legend spelled doom for all but the two lovers and their offspring. Philip, though, did not want to be the one to signal the end of the world.

            “It can’t be... it can’t be so simple as sharing a kiss.”

            “No... But you are about to give him a kiss of anima... is that not a spiritual kiss? Is not anima the living essence of a Centurion’s and Legatio’s soul? “But...”

             Philip tried to protest but already his body had taken up a deep blue glow, not just from his abdomen but all over his body... showing that Philip was now at the peak of his sexual state. Still he fought it off again. Jason was too young, especially mentally. “No... I

won’t bond with a man who is still so young at heart.” Jonathan looked at Philip with anger in his eyes... “You will...

you may be able to fight it for now but I saw a purple light last night. It

is your destiny, Philip, and is the last wish of my lover.”

“That may be... but not till Jason is grown. Now put those cups away!”

Philip’s curt order put Jonathan back into the role of the meek Famulus, and bowed low, submitting. Still, neither would forget this night.

Philip left Jonathan bowed and knew with confidence that he would wake to find Jonathan still bent over in the morning... a just

punishment for a Famulus to dare order a Centurion to do anything. Seeing Jason sleeping peacefully, Philip almost felt bad in

waking him, but Philip had a gift that needed to be given. “Jason...

Jason... wake up.”

“Hmmmmmm... Yes?” Jason murmured as he slowly opened his eyes.

“I have something for you.” Philip chuckled.

On hearing that, Jason’s green eyes went wide with excitement, shimmering from the pale moonlight streaming into the carriage. “What?”

“Something that will heal your legs faster than anything the healers could do for you... anima,” Philip said as he took out the glowing vial.

“Anima?” Jason asked while his eyes focused on the blue fluid.

“It is a Centurion’s life force. With it we can add to our own strength, cure illness, and heal wounds. Look... I will show you.”

Philip grinned as he took Jason’s hand and put it on his bare stomach. Jason’s eyes went wide when he saw Philip’s skin pick up a blue glow. “It is inside you?”

“Yes... it is what makes a Centurion a Centurion. It gives us our strength and ability to heal fast.”

“Do I have a blue glow inside me as well?” Jason asked hopefully.

“No... let me show you,” Philip said. He lifted Jason’s shirt and placed his hand on Jason’s stomach, causing a red glow to appear.

“Why is mine red?” Jason asked.

“Yours is red because you are a Legatio. Your anima will keep you young and give you a long life.”

“I see... so how did you get the anima in the bottle?” Jason asked.

“One of my men died.”

Concerned, Jason asked; “How?”

“I killed him,” Philip said as he steeled himself for Jason’s anger. Instead, Jason hugged Philip tightly.

“What!” Jason shouted, surprising Philip by the sudden anger in his voice.

“He challenged one of my men in a duel. If I had not killed him more of my men would have started fighting each other,” Philip replied defensively.

“I don’t want you killing people,” Jason insisted.

“I am a soldier, Jason. If I weren’t one I would have never been able to save you from your mother.”

“But killing is wrong.”

“I promise you Jason, once we reach Domus and you’ve become a student at the Academy and I a teacher, I’ll be free of my duty to kill in the name of the Empire.”

“How many more will die before that happens?” Jason demanded, not relenting.

“We’ll reach Domus in a month, no more.”

“How many will die,” Jason repeated.

Letting out a deep sigh, Philip fingered the vial in his hands before replying. “None, I swear. You must do something for me however. You must accept the life of the Centurion I killed.”

“And become a part of the murder you committed?”

“There is nothing that can change the fact that I killed one of my men. To you any killing is evil. One day I hope you see the world is not like the stories you’ve read. Sometimes to save the lives you care about you must kill those who threaten them.”

“But why must I take his life?”

“If the Field Marshals could hear you say that,” Philip laughed. “You do not know what an honor it is for a Legatio not on his deathbed to be offered the anima of a Centurion?”

“If that vial has the life of another person, should it not be the man you took it from who decides what should be done with it?”

“Not if his life is lost in a duel. By tradition I should be the one drinking the man’s anima to heal my wounds and gain his strength.”

“Then why are you offering it to me?”

“You need it more than I do, with your broken legs and frail body.”

“Are you saying I don’t look normal?” Jason asked, confused and a little hurt.

“You’ve been around us Centurions long enough to know what a man is supposed to look like. You’ll even find your fellow Legatio towering over you. The anima can help fix that. You’ll need all the strength you can muster when you go to the Academy.”

Jason, feeling his resolve weaken let his eyes follow the blue vial Philip was swinging in front of his eyes. “You promise you won’t kill, ever again?”

“I won’t have to, I’ll have you to protect me,” Philip joked, removing the glass stopper from the vial.

“Am I to drink it or do you spread it over my body like an ointment?” Jason asked, lying back down.

“Now there’s a thought,” Philip said with a grin, joining Jason on the bed inside the carriage. “You drink it.”

“And then what happens?” Jason asked as the vial was brought to his lips.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Philip winked before pouring the sweet fluid into Jason’s mouth.

As soon as Jason drank the last drop he felt Philip’s callous hands ripping away the clothes Jonathan had made for him just yesterday. “Why did you do that?”

“You’ll see,” Philip chuckled as he removed the last stitch of Jason’s clothes before quickly covering him with a fur blanket even though the young king’s body was already covered with sweat. A few minutes later Philip saw veins of purple light crisscross on the parts of Jason not covered by the blanket, including his eyes. 

“What’s happening?” Jason asked nervously.

“The blue anima you drank has mixed with the red anima inside your core, the elixir is now spreading throughout your body, healing and strengthening it at the same time.

Within seconds of Philip saying those words Jason felt a jolt of pain in both his legs as they mended themselves.

“Growing up is never painless, but I think you already knew that,” Philip said calmly as the anima continued to have its effect on Jason, the young man curling into a ball for several minutes. By the time he uncurled himself his was several inches taller, the skeleton frame that had been his body replaced by a still thin but much healthier one.

Jason however didn’t notice. His energy spent, he had fallen asleep before the transformation was complete.

Philip however did witness it all. Where a starved man had laid now slept a Legatio youth looking almost the twenty years Jason truly wore. Seeing the young man restored to health both tempted and taunted the Centurion. If one vial could do this, what would giving more anima to Jason do? Such ideas made Philip wish he had not given his oath not to kill. Such thoughts however only stayed in Philip’s mind for the briefest of moments. The Domus Empire has a name for a Centurion who kills for the sake of obtaining anima. They’re called demons, the most cursed name given to ones with such corrupt souls.

 

This work is the original creation of the writer who holds all rights to it. 2011 All rights reserved.
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